It’s your gym time! Use it that way

Most of the leaves have fallen and it’s about time to bring that workout indoors. What do you do if you are intimidated to step into a gym? Are you afraid to be the “new guy” in class?  Do you have a membership but no idea what to do when you walk in? 

Often times when you walk in the doors of a gym you see tons of huge hunks of metal, hear plates slamming down, watch ropes flying like crazy, and are surrounded by lots and lots of spandex. For some people that is home sweet home, for others it is terrifying. How can you combat that? 

The first thing you need to know is that others are not looking at you and judging you. Well, who knows, there may be one or two – but we don’t care what they think anyway! 

Everyone in there is worried about their own workout, their own muscles in the mirror, or the music in their headphones. I’ve been run into at the gym because people are so busy looking at the equipment in their hands, or their phones. 

Most gyms offer a free session with a trainer, or a tour at the very minimum. USE IT! Even if you do know how to use machines, every brand is a little different and it can never hurt to learn more about the equipment that you are using.

If you’re new to the gym, or just to some of the equipment, this is your fastest way to get more comfortable. Don’t be embarrassed to tell the trainer you don’t know what you are doing; they see it all the time. Besides, most trainers geek out when they get their hands on a newbie. It’s fun to be the one to start someone’s fitness journey with them.

If you have to wait for that session to be scheduled, here’s something easy you can do. Walk to a treadmill and hit the Quick Start button. There should be something similar to that on every piece of cardio equipment. Turn it on to a slow walk and take in your surroundings.

Take a class. One of the best ways to get to know people and get acquainted to the facility and equipment is to join an exercise class. 

The instructors will notice you are new, and help you. The participants love to welcome new people to their group. Once you build those relationships, your fellow participants will let you know what they do on their other days in the gym. 

Tag along and learn from them, they will feel honored to show someone else the ropes. Making those connections will take walking into the gym from dreadful to home sweet home in no time! 


Molly Nevins. BS Kinesiology, ACSM HS, is the fitness director for the DeWitt and Oak Park YMCAs. Reach her at (517) 827.9656.

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